Quantum Leap 2×01 “This Took Too Long!” is the kind of episode that reminds me that there’s a huge difference between casual viewers and online fans. The fact the latter are so die-hard doesn’t necessarily make them “better” fans. However, a casual viewer might watch the second season premiere of Quantum Leap and think, “That was a good episode. I can’t wait to see what happens next week!” A die-hard fan takes things personally.
I spend my free time writing episode reviews, so you can guess which camp I fall into. Which might put things into context when I say my reaction to “This Took Too Long!” was something along the lines of, “Who may I call upon to answer for these crimes, and how absolute dare???”
Quantum Leap‘s second season premiere put Ben (Raymond Lee) in a new position: completely on his own. For the first time since his very first Leap, he doesn’t have a team behind him. Addison (Caitlin Bassett) isn’t there to tell him how much time he has before the plane explodes, and he doesn’t have Ian (Mason Alexander Park) – through Ziggy – telling him what he needs to do to move on.
Luckily, Ben is smart and resourceful. He’s able to more or less muddle through on his own. All things considered at (or, rather, in) the present, that’s probably a good thing. And, sure, the fact he manages it so (relatively) easily might call into question whether or not he truly “needs” a team to accomplish his cosmic mission. But we aren’t really invested in the team because we like to see how they calculate probabilities. We love the team because they truly are like a family. We love to see how they interact and grow together. You hear that, writers? We love to see how they interact and grow together.
Et Tu, Brute?
This brings me to the point when I abandon all pretense of not being overly invested in this show. (Assuming I didn’t lose all right to such claims when I made outlandish theories last season. I’m pretty sure none of them came true. Will that stop me this year from doing the same? Probably not.)
Three years, writers? Three years??? THREE YEARS???????
After waiting all summer for one of my favorite shows on television to return, you give me only the barest glimpses of the team in flashbacks, and then you tell me that THREE YEARS HAVE PASSED? DURING WHICH EVERYONE THINKS BEN IS DEAD?
AND YOU DON’T SHOW ME HOW
ADDISON EVERYONE DEALT WITH THIS AT ALL???????
How many question marks are required in this review to convey my indignation? My heartbreak? My level of stress? I swear to god, if this show pulls a Castaway next episode and we find out that Addison moved on when everyone assumed Ben was dead, I will not be responsible for my overreaction.
What gives you the right to play with my heart this way, writers? (“The insolence! The audacity! The unmitigated gall!” as The Grinch would say.) Other than the fact that…oh, right. It’s your show. Look, don’t distract me with the facts when I have moral fangirl indignation to process.
Highlights and Lowlights
Although Quantum Leap 2×01 “This Took Too Long!” left me spiraling with visions of the team despairing from losing Ben, the episode wasn’t without its highlights. The Leap of the Week was challenging enough to be interesting while plausibly allowing Ben to manage on his own. And the flashbacks, while brief, reminded me just how much I love every member of the team. Unsurprisingly, Ian was a particular delight, as they tag-teamed with Jen (Nanrisa Lee) and Ziggy to play Cupid for Ben and Addison. Ian’s determination to get the two lovebirds-to-be together was matched only by their indignation when Ziggy refused to assist in wingman duties. Ziggy may be a (seemingly) all-knowing computer program, but it was like “go with god, Ben, because I’m not helping you with this one.” You couldn’t even squeak a single percentage point in his favor, Ziggy? Ouch.
As much as I enjoyed those brief glimpses (and the episode as a whole), there comes a point where my status as die-hard fan can be a double-edged sword. When writing my reviews, I try sometimes to put my deep investment in the show aside and view it the way the general audience would. However, when it comes to “This Took Too Long!” I can’t help but wonder if the episode itself…well…took too long to get to what I was most eager to see.
If I didn’t love all the characters as much as I do, would I have felt their absence quite as keenly throughout the majority of the episode? Don’t get me wrong. I adore Ben. I might have one or two thirst-reviews to prove it. But the rest of the team was sorely missed throughout the episode. I’m sure this is in no small part due to the fact that I’d waited semi-patiently over a long hiatus and was excited to see them again.
I went into the premiere knowing that we’d find that Ben’s attempt to return home had been unsuccessful. For it to be otherwise would mean either the shortest second season in television history or that Ben would have to find a reason to jump again immediately upon the show’s return. At which point, I might root for Addison to actually shoot him. (Strictly a flesh wound, honest!)
But everything else – particularly the season-long challenge the team would have to band together to overcome – was a mystery. One I was dying to get to. Throughout most of the premiere, I found myself asking where the episode was headed in terms of big-picture. Where was all of this going? What groundwork was it laying for the season as a whole?
To be fair, we got answers to those questions. Some of them, at least. The challenge will undoubtedly have to do with first, getting the team back together and second, finding ways they can help Ben, now that the project itself has been shut down.
Did it take too long for the episode to get to that reveal? Or did it just feel that way to me because I am, perhaps, a little too invested in the show? Quantum Leap 2×01 “This Took Too Long!” is certainly not the first show to draw out answers until a last-minute surprise twist.
But ending the hour without getting a glimpse into how everyone (*ahem* the other half of my ship, don’t judge me, okay?) dealt with Ben’s presumed death? That hurt, show. That hurt.
(Over)Thinking Things Through
“Already?” Yes. Already.
- What WAS the betrayal almost confessed in this episode? I’m sure we’ll never know. But I can’t be the only one wondering, right? I can already tell season 2 is going to play with my head AND my heart, and I don’t know if I’m ready for that much internal conflict.
- Where was Ben the last 3 years? Was he Leaping and somehow forgetting each time? That seems doubtful. Was he in some sort of cosmic stasis/holding pattern/waiting room? And, if so, what triggered his Leaps to start again?
- How did Ian find out that Ben was still alive? Did Ziggy send him some sort of alarm when Ben started Leaping again? Does Ian just go regular check-ins with Ziggy in the desperate-if-expected-to-be-vain hope he finds his friend alive, after all? I was going to make a joke about checking to make sure history is still history, but then I remembered that there’s no guarantee Martinez (Walter Perez) was or always would be the only evil Leaper. Maybe doing status checks on history isn’t actually a bad idea.
- If the team spent three years looking for Ben, but Ben didn’t experience that passage of time, how old will he be when he finally does manage to return home? Will his body…that he’s not been in…and doesn’t seem to be hanging out QL HQ…age at the same rate? I don’t know that Einstein covered this in his theory of relativity.
- If the team is going to have to use Ziggy and help Ben on the down-low while they’re shut down, at least they got some pointers on how to do it from Janis (Georgina Reilly) last year, right?
- I know the show will probably have Addison in a new relationship, only to struggle with her feelings upon the revelation that Ben isn’t dead. It is TV, after all, and that’s what TV does. But the idea of that is so awful, it makes puppies cry. I really hope the writers don’t make puppies cry. Puppies are cute and don’t deserve that kind of pain. (For the record, writers, neither do I.)
Quantum Leap airs Wednesdays on NBC.